Easing Aches & Pains Mid-Flight

We’ve all been there—somewhere over the Atlantic, with a horrible neck crick from falling asleep while sitting straight up, or getting off a red-eye with lower back spasms. Sometimes finding a masseuse to work out the kinks isn’t an option. Enter integrative structuralist, fascia expert, and frequent goop contributor Lauren Roxburgh—whose book, Taller, Slimmer, Younger: 21 Days to a Foam Roller Physique is finally out this week—who has some tips, and a handy travel roller, for easing those aches and pains mid-flight or in a hotel room on the other side of the jet bridge.

Roll Away Travelin’ Blues

My mom was a Pan Am stewardess in the ’70s back when travel was romantic and exotic—when the simple act of getting on a plane made you part of the “jet set.” Those days are over. Heinous TSA security lines, ever-shrinking legroom, bad food, and endless delays can make flying today a bitch! And it’s not just the hassle—all this travel takes a heavy toll on our bodies. When it comes to long-haul flights, the dangers of not moving are becoming increasingly documented. Standing regularly, stretching and doing some simple moves like seated twists, ankle rolls, and neck stretches will all help keep your circulation going.

I designed a mini travel foam roller that’s about the size of a rolled up magazine. It can be stashed in your carry-on bag—it’s also not a bad thing to keep in a desk drawer at work. I experimented for months to get the density just right.

5 Post-Flight Travel Roller Moves

This simple 5-move sequence can be done in even the most crammed hotel room.

3 More Moves When You’re on the Go

Calf Roll
Stimulates the lymphatic system, which is helpful after traveling.

Bend your right knee and extend your left leg while placing the travel roller under lower calf. Inhale as you roll to the left letting the roller move a few inches up the calf and exhale as you roll back down.

Repeat eight times on each side.

Shin Roll
Reduces stiffness and tension in the lower legs.

Come to a kneeling lunge on your mat, placing the shin of your back leg onto the roller just above the ankle. Place your hands on the ground with your shoulders directly above your wrists. Keeping your back leg straight and slightly internally rotated, inhale as you roll the roller up the length of your shin to just below the knee. Fully exhale as you move the roller back down the leg. This movement will stretch the hip and release any tension in the lower legs.

Repeat eight to ten times on each side.

Rolling Lunge
This promotes improved balance and brain body connection. Opens, elongates, and de-bunches the front of the hips. Activates and strengthens the core.

Place your right foot forward with your knee slightly bent and then place the top of your left foot on the travel roller behind you with the leg straight. Reach your arms up directly overhead. Inhale as you slowly bend your right knee and roll the roller up your left shin to just below the knee. Pause and then exhale as you roll back down.

Repeat six to eight times on each side.

Lauren’s Other Travel Essentials

  • A Jump Rope

    A Jump Rope

    I’m a big fan of using the rebounder to build pelvic core strength, and maintain bone density, but when you’re traveling you can get some of the same benefits from jumping rope in your hotel room. Be sure to wear supportive shoes or jump on a padded floor.

  • Digest Gold

    Digest Gold

    This is the most effective digestive enzyme formula I’ve found. When we travel, poor food options and fatigue often mean our bodies are not getting what they need to stay vibrant so taking this helps tremendously.

  • Emergen C Immune +

    Emergen C Immune +

    This contains a blend of probiotics, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids—it’s great for those crowded airports and breathing that re-circulated airplane air that is so often full of germs and bugs.

  • Natural Calm

    Natural Calm

    This is a great magnesium supplement. It helps me minimize or avoid jet lag.